In teams of any size, workplace conflict will most assuredly happen. This conflict, if not handled well, will lead to a toxic work environment, low production and employee turnover. We spend a lot of time where we work, so we should make it the best possible experience for ourselves and others.
Disarming workplace conflict starts with you
No amount of lectures or workshops on workplace conflict will benefit a department or a company if you don’t personally own a great set of conflict resolution skills. If you are not highly self aware of your own traits and how you come across to others, you will consistently find yourself fumbling in this area.
Some conflict is our own fault due to our own conflicting thoughts and desires.
An example of conflicting desires is when we make excuses for ourselves but under the same circumstances, we judge others.
Say you get a promotion and a raise. You tell yourself, “I have worked hard for this and finally someone sees all my efforts.” Yet, if another person gets a promotion and a raise, you think, “Must have been political. Someone owed him a favor.”
We have conflicting thoughts that run through our heart and mind all day. This bias toward ourselves can taint our speech, our actions and our job performance as well as lead to workplace conflict.
The benefit of the doubt
Train yourself to give people the benefit of the doubt. Train your mind to imagine what may be going on that you can’t see. Perhaps this person deals with chronic pain, they are at a breaking point with a child or had a recent death in the family. How would your workspace change if you gave people the benefit of the doubt?
This is not just a workplace conflict diffuser — it can extend to all areas of life.
Giving a person the benefit of the doubt is such a great practice to have. Think about even going the extra step and telling them what you appreciate about them. It will bring peace to your own heart and mind, and calm conflict.
Recognizing the conflicting desires with us personally is the first step to diffusing any conflict at work or home. Giving people the benefit of the doubt can be a powerful tool to reduce tension, show compassion and reduce workplace conflict.